Tonight's dinner was born from left-overs, but it is something that can definitely be made from scratch. It was also my first successful attempt at pie crust - the last few times were a hot mess. For the same reason that my brain shuts off when I drive into Lewiston, I cannot make pie crust. The difficulty comes not with the mixing of ingredients - I've watched my mom perfect it for 30 years - but with the actual rolling of the dough. It always sticks. No matter what. I received a marble rolling pin as a wedding gift, and that seemed to help tremendously. I still have some quirks to work out, but I know I'm on my way to making pastries by Christmas!
As for this pie, it's rich and full of ricotta cheese, eggs, and lovely vegetables I know my kids will eat. I even snuck a bit of squash in there. They both protest against squash, but they eat it more times than they would care to know. I'm convinced that when they are adults they'll suddenly, and without cause, have a strong desire to eat all things squashy. Then, I will sit back and smile.
1 1/2 C ricotta cheese
1/2 C cottage cheese
3 T fresh chives,
2 C fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/3C mushrooms, sliced thin
1/2 C squash, cooked and mashed with butter
2 T oil
salt and pepper
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1/2 C cold water (I put mine in the freezer for about 20 minutes)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make pie crust by mixing the shortening, flour and salt together with a fork until crumbly. Slowly add just enough water in to make the dough stick together. You may not use the whole 1/2 cup. Roll out until about 1 inch bigger than you need for your pie plate. Fold gently in half, lift into plate, unfold and press into place. I take a sharp knife and cut the excess off and save it for cinnamon pinwheels. Using a fork, press the edges of the crust firmly into the top of the pie plate. Set aside.
Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat and add oil and butter to it. Toss in onions, garlic and mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft and onions translucent. Add in spinach and toss with onion and mushrooms until wilted, stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Remove from heat and add in squash, salt and pepper, mixing it all together well. In a medium bowl, whisk eggs, then add in ricotta, chives, and cottage cheese. Mix together thoroughly.
To put pie together, dump vegetable mixture into pie crust and spread evenly across the bottom. Poor egg and cheese mixture over and let sit for 2 minutes. Place in oven and bake 50mins to an 1hour, making sure crust doesn't burn. Use a toothpick in the center of the pie to make sure it's done. If any egg mixture comes out on toothpick, place back in oven for 5 minute intervals until cooked through. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes before cutting and serving.
You can serve with a salad and toast, sauteed vegetables, or home-fries.